Higher Education in Jordan

Just over 2.5% of Jordan's total population is enrolled at university, a proportion comparable to the United Kingdom. Access to higher education is open to holders of the General Secondary Education Certificate who can then choose between private Community Colleges, public Community Colleges or universities (public and private). The credit-hour system, which entitles students to select courses according to a study plan, is implemented at universities.

Higher education system of the country has evolved considerably. In years between 2000/2001 and 2006/2007, Jordan has seen an increased demand for higher education with enrollments growing at an annual rate of 14 percent from 77,841 to 218,900 students. It has tertiary gross enrollment levels of about 40 percent which is higher than the regional average. Three new public universities have been established recently reaching a total of 10 public universities in the country.

Private universities have seen a rapid increase in enrollments as well. Since 2000 to 2006, enrollment in 12 private universities grew by about 18 percent annually from 36,642 to 55,744. However, enrollment numbers in community colleges declined from 30,000 to 26,215. This decrease in enrollment rates reflect a bias to a 4-year university education and also the fact that quality and level of training given in these colleges is not what is in demand in the labor market of a knowledge based economy. With increasing number of students going for the attainment of higher education, the government needs to allocate greater resources in improving the current higher education system and also to improve access of good universities for the rising population. Even the private universities have to change some of their admission policies. The enrollment cap in the private universities restricts the ability of university to absorb increasing number of higher education students. Projection for the number of students entering university is 92,000 per year by 2013 up from 50,469 in 2005.

University Level Studies
• First stage: Undergraduate level

Most universities in Jordan follow the English-American education systems and are associated with many American and English universities. Bachelor's Degrees normally take four years. In Dentistry, Pharmacy and Engineering, studies last for five years. In Medicine, they last for six years, followed by an Internship which lasts for one year. The bachelor's degree requires a total of 126-257 credit hours, depending on the field of study.

• Second stage: Postgraduate level
A Master's degree is awarded after a further one to two years' study following a bachelor's degree. It can be obtained either by course work and a thesis (c. 24 credit hours of courses and nine credit hours of research), or by course work (c. 33 credit hours) and a comprehensive examination. There are other postgraduate degrees equivalent to the master's degree in some Jordanian universities like the Magister in the German Jordanian University, the DEA's degree in the Universities which follow the French system and the MBA for the students who have significant work experience.

• Third stage: Doctorate
A Doctorate Degree is awarded after three to five years of further study and the submission of an original dissertation. It requires, depending on the subject, 24 credit hours of course work and 24 credit hours of research.

• Teacher education: Training of pre-primary and primary/basic school teachers
Basic school teachers must hold a bachelor's degree. Training of secondary school teachers: Secondary school teachers must hold a bachelor's degree and a one-year postgraduate Higher Diploma in Education. Training of higher education teachers: They must hold a Doctorate (PhD). In some cases a master's degree is sufficient.

• Non-traditional studies: Distance higher education
This type of education is offered at the newly established branch of the Arab Open University.

Non-University Level Studies
Non-university and vocational studies are offered in community colleges, access to which is open to holders of all types of general secondary education certificates. The two-to three-year programme encompasses many fields, such as Arts, Science, Management, Business Administration and Engineering. As of 1997, all public Community Colleges are under the supervision of Al-Balqa Applied University. At the end of the two- or three-year course, students sit for a comprehensive examination (Al-Shamel). Those who pass are awarded the associate degree / Diploma.

Lifelong Higher Education
Lifelong education is offered at public and private universities, public and private community colleges, the Jordan Institute of Public Administration, The Royal Jordan Geographic Center and The Royal Scientific Society, as well as in other institutions. Courses are offered in Engineering, Industry, Agriculture, Foreign Languages, Computer Sciences, Managerial Sciences, Secretarial Studies, Physical Education and subjects that can help the local community. Courses last between one week and six months at the end of which students obtain a Certificate of Attendance or Achievement. The qualifications required for admission depend on the subject and level of the course. Some are designed for specific occupations, in which case a work experience in the relevant field is needed to attend such courses, such as the books of Nadia Saqer.

Academic ranks in Jordan
Professor (أستاذ)
Associate professor (أستاذ مشارك)
Assistant professor (أستاذ مساعد)
Practitioner Professor (أستاذ ممارس)
Lecturer (مدرس)
Assistant lecturer (مدرس مساعد )

Universities in Jordan borrow from the US higher education system. Whether public or private, universities have five ranks for faculty members: مدرس مساعد (Mudarris musā`id; equivalent to teaching assistant), مدرس(Mudarris; equivalent to senior teaching assistant), (Ustāḏ musā`id; equivalent to assistant professor), أستاذ مساعد(Ustāḏ musharik; equivalent to associate professor), and أستاذ('Ustāḏ; equivalent to professor)

Teaching assistant: A teaching assistant must have a master's degree before commencing employment. The duties include preparing and delivering tutorial and lab sessions, preparing assignments and term projects requirements, preparing and conducting laboratory examinations, and tutorial quizzes, and co-supervising graduation projects.

Senior teaching assistant: After a teaching assistant hired, s/he is promoted to a senior teaching assistant after submission to two accepted papers for publication. Usually, the duties do not change, but the salary increases slightly.

Assistant professor: doctorate equivalent holders can be hired as an assistant professor, and receives tenureship. Assistant professors duties include delivering lectures, supervising graduation projects, master's theses, and doctoral dissertations.

Associate professor: After at least five years, an assistant professor can apply for a promotion to the rank of associate professor. The decision is based on the scholarly contributions of the applicant, in terms of publications and theses and dissertations supervised.

Professor: After at least five years, an associate professor can apply for a promotion to the rank of a professor. The decision is based on the scholarly contributions of the applicant, in terms of publications and theses and dissertations supervised.

Academic duties of associate professors and professors are nearly the same as assistant professors. However, only associate professors and professors can assume senior administrative posts like a department chair, a college vice dean, and a college dean.